Guaranteeing access to the network

To meet the needs of its customers, SNCF Réseau optimises the allocation of train paths on its rail lines. Many tools are proposed to railway companies to make it easier to access rail infrastructure (feasibility studies, a collaborative platform, opportunities for discussion, etc.).
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Achieving equitable access to the network

As rail network manager, SNCF Réseau is responsible for allocating train paths (time slots for trains to travel from one point to another). This work consists of defining the most efficient utilisation of the rail lines as possible (network optimisation). As part of this task, SNCF Réseau handles the train path requests made by its customers in relation to:

  • available capacities,
  • the type of line and train,
  • while respecting the regulations stipulated in the Network Reference Document and ensuring equitable access as far as possible

Time slots are also reserved for recurrent maintenance as well as for isolated and urgent works on the lines (“works-intervals” are scheduled for 1500 works on the lines each year).

Tools for continuously improving access to train paths

The SNCF Réseau teams work to meet customers’ requests more efficiently. For instance they propose reserving train paths from an order catalogue, either predefined or customized (specifically created on the basis of customers’ needs). They also continuously strive to lower the number of conditional train paths (time slots reserved on condition that no concomitant works are being carried out on the lines). The teams also attempt to more effectively handle last minute requests for train paths, i.e., less than a week before the day in question, primarily by shortening response times.

Feasibility studies can also be carried out before ordering train paths to help railway companies organize their business. SNCF Réseau also dialogues with its customers by regularly offering opportunities for discussion. And lastly, a platform for collaborating and arbitrating “train paths – work slots” has been set up to improve the allocation of slots for traffic in the event works have been scheduled on the line.

Key figures


  • 6.15 million train paths requested from RFF (SNCF Réseau since 2015)
  • + 2.4% of definite day train paths allocated


  • 6.115 million train paths requested from SNCF Réseau
  • again, + 2.4% of definite day train paths allocated